Why Dingo lis­tens to the call of the wildlife

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page - SIOB­HAN DUCK

BIRDS, koalas and even trees talk to Ernie Dingo. And no, he hasn’t gone mad. The Great Out­doors re­porter be­lieves most peo­ple would learn a lot about the nat­u­ral world if they only took the time to no­tice the signs that an­i­mals and plants give them.

The rustling of trees, squawk­ing of na­tive birds and twitch­ing of a mam­mal’s ears give sub­tle signs about the weather, lie of the land and the mood of the an­i­mal.

In fact, dur­ing our in­ter­view Dingo lis­tens to the sounds of birds gath­er­ing in the nearby trees at South­bank and tells me with great self-as­sur­ance: ‘‘It’s go­ing to rain in 20 min­utes.’’ And dare I say it, he was right — al­most to the minute.

By learn­ing to read and re­spect na­ture’s signs, Dingo rarely needs a weather re­port and has never had a bad run-in with a wild an­i­mal in all his trav­els with The Great Out­doors.

Dingo’s knowl­edge hasn’t come from books or study but rather just from spending time in the Out­back ob­serv­ing the land around him.

Though Dingo has had the lux­ury of be­ing able to spend a lot of time in the wild with The Great Out­doors, he un­der­stands not every­one is so for­tu­nate.

He says his new se­ries, Out­back Wildlife Res­cue, will open city peo­ple’s eyes to the plight of our na­tive an­i­mals from the com­fort and se­cu­rity of their own lounge rooms.

‘‘I learned more by ob­serv­ing than I did ask­ing ques­tions,’’ he says. ‘‘Peo­ple will learn so much from watch­ing this pro­gram.

Filmed in and around Alice Springs, Dar­win and north Queens­land, Out­back Wildlife Res­cue fol­lows the rangers and wildlife car­ers ded­i­cated to sav­ing and re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing in­jured na­tive birds and an­i­mals.

Dingo says th­ese peo­ple are in­spir­ing and should be hailed as he­roes for their tire­less work.

He says most na­tive an­i­mals are in­jured as a di­rect re­sult of hu­man be­hav­iour. Dingo says na­ture needs to be un­der­stood and re­spected.

‘‘We’re all God’s crea­tures, we all have a place in the choir,’’ he says.

‘‘I think it’s ar­ro­gant that peo­ple see a snake and just go whack, whack, whack . . . ‘oh, woops it’s only a python’.

‘‘They see a roo ly­ing on the road and don’t stop.

‘‘They don’t think about the other an­i­mals that try to feed on that car­cass and then get hit them­selves.

‘‘An­i­mals de­serve a bit of re­spect.’’

Na­ture study:

we can learn a lot, Ernie Dingo says.

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